Posts

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Big Tujunga is the Big Kahuna

Cottonwood, Big Tujunga Creek, Sunland-Tujunga (12/15/18) Ken Lock

The Big Kahuna for fall color in Southern California’s mountains this past weekend was Big Tujunga Creek near Sunland-Tujunga where Ken Lock captured cottonwood still carrying gold.

Yes Gidget, it’s past peak. Though, spots of peak color can still be found here and there in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains. 

Cottonwood, Big Tujunga Creek, Sunland-Tujunga (12/15/18) Ken Lock
  • Big Tujunga Creek, Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles – Past Peak, You Missed It.
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SoCal’s Awesome Autumn

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden (12/11/18) Frank McDonough

Southern California color spotter Alysia Gray Painter of NBC knows her fall color.

Each year, she’s been one of the first color spotters in Southern California to alert us to color appearing in her region, and today headlined a post on NBCLosAngeles.com about SoCal’s late-peaking fall color, “Wow, Now.” 

To read it, CLICK HERE.

She wrote, “How cool, and SoCal is it, that fall lingers a little at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, even as its famous roses pop in time for the Tournament of Roses?”

Hella cool, we reply from NorCal. There’s nothing more SoCal than that, dudes. So, Go Now! 

LA County Arboretum, Arcadia (12/11/18) Frank McDonough
  • Los Angeles – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Burbank – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Arcadia – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Woodland Hills – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Long Beach (Atlantic Blvd, Bixby Knolls) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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A Place of Many Identities

Big Tujunga Creek, Sunland-Tujunga (11/17/18) Ken Lock

Sunland-Tujunga is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles by the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Crescenta Valley.

Which is to say, Sunland-Tujunga is a place of many identities.

Though, in late autumn it is known for its beauty, as captured in this First Report by Ken Lock using a Samsung Note 9.

Peak yellow, orange and gold fall color is seen zigzagging beside Big Tujunga Creek through Pipe Canyon, Ybarra Canyon and Stone Canyon, heading toward Wildwood.

Native to the area are Frémont cottonwood, bigleaf maple, box elder, chokecherry, California ash, California sycamore, white alder, California black walnut, California buckeye and various willows. 

  • Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles (1,512′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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It All Begins at 1:02 p.m. Today

Autumn begins throughout California at 1:02 p.m.

That’s when the autumnal equinox occurs, starting a new astronomical season. At that moment, the sun’s rays are almost equally divided between the northern and southern hemisphere.

Thereafter and continuing to the winter solstice on Dec. 21, days get shorter and colder, as the amount of sunlight reaching the northern hemisphere declines.

Less light results in less chlorophyll being produced in deciduous plants. As the green chlorophyl subsides underlying brown, red, orange and yellow colors are seen. Colder temperatures also intensify red, orange and yellow colors. Though, eventually, the leaves weaken and fall.

Autumn is the only season with two names: Autumn and Fall. It gets the latter from those falling leaves.

Many believe California’s best weather occurs in autumn. Days remain clement, but nights are cooler. There’s a crispness in the air, but also a soothing envelopment that almost feels as if you’re being embraced by the season.

Why is it that there is such celebration when pumpkin-spiced lattes return to cafe menus in autumn?  Is it their taste, or the recollections of this gathering season that they inspire?

Autumn is the season of harvest, reunion, tailgating, wine making, costume parties, sweaters and thanksgiving. Though it would not be what it is, without Fall.

Over the past couple of days, snow has fallen in the High Sierra. Several of you have asked what effect the early snow might have on autumn color. The answer is: “Little to No Effect.”

Snow usually only damages the change of color on leaves that have turned color or have nearly turned color. Leaves that are vibrant and still producing chlorophyl shake off a little snow with no effect on the color. However, were the same to occur at an elevation that was near peak to peak, leaves in the process of turning would either be spotted or blown from their branches.

Rock Creek Canyon (9/22/17) Will Ridgeway

Rock Creek Canyon (9/22/17) Will Ridgeway

Will Ridgeway took these photographs near Rock Creek Pack Station yesterday morning.

He writes that “The snow on green Aspen leaves makes it look like we’re going straight from Summer to Winter, though that’s temporary.

“That said, there was a good amount of colour above Lake Sabrina this morning, roughly equal parts green, yellow and orange depending on the location of each grove.” he describes.

Lake Sabrina – Near Peak (75-100%) – Will Ridgeway rates the upper groves high above Sabrina Lake near 10,000′ in elevation as nearing peak. GO NOW!

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County (9/22/17) Bruce Wendler

Sagehen Meadow, Mono County – Patchy (10-50%) – Color spotter Bruce Wendler found “the first fire of autumn” lighting the hills around Sagehen Meadow, south of Mono Lake. Frigid temperatures are stimulating vibrant color change in high areas of Mono County.

Unidentified exotic tree, Downtown LA near Fig Plaza (9/21/17) Mohammad Delwar

Los Angeles – Just Starting (0-10%) – Often what appears to be autumnal change is not exactly the same thing. Del Hossain saw this blooming tree in downtown Los Angeles yesterday and had the presence of mind to photograph it and ask if it might be fall color.

This is one of the myriad of non-native (or exotic) trees that have been planted in our urban forests. It has a flower or seed pod (similar to a Bougainvillea bloom) that Del described as “a splash of pinks, reds,or orangish”.

What is most important is that Del turned a break while working in the heart of Los Angeles (Downtown Magnets High School – Go Suns!) into an inspirational fall color sojourn.  Fall color creds to anyone who can identify the tree, and to Del for sharing.

Color Everywhere, Even in LA

Los Angeles (10/3/16) Mark DeVitre

Los Angeles (10/3/16) Mark DeVitre

Color is appearing all over California, even in Los Angeles.

Mark DeVitre posted this harlequin-toned tree in The Big Orange, only this tree had purple, blue, yellow, red, green, orange… you name it.

Los Angeles has a long way to go until peak, but individual trees, like this one, will peak on their own timetable.  L.A. is normally, a November peak.  So, we’ll declare Angeltown to be Just Starting.

Los Angeles (Sea Level), Just Starting (0-10%)

[wunderground location=”Los Angeles, CA” numdays=”4″ showdata=”daynames,icon,date,conditions,highlow” layout=”simple”]

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L.A. Has Rolled Out The Red Carpet

Liquidambar (June) Leaf Peeper

Liquidambar, Los Angeles (6/14/16) Leaf Peeper

Liquidambar, Los Angeles (6/14/16) Leaf Peeper

Liquidambar, Los Angeles (8/10/16) Leaf Peeper

I hesitated posting the top left photo received from Leaf Peeper when it arrived in June.

This is the same tree Leaf Peeper has submitted previously in summer, making it the third year that a Los Angeles tree gets attention for early color.

Now, this just may be that this tree shows red color in its uppermost branches and isn’t really changing color, though we’d need a tree expert to say.

Nevertheless, color is color and with Leaf Peeper’s report, Los Angeles again gets the nod for being the first to roll out the red carpet.

On Sunday, I head to the Eastern Sierra to check out Bishop Creek Canyon, Mammoth Lakes and U.S. 395 through Inyo and Mono Counties, and will report on what’s showing after returning on Thursday.

If you’re in the area, I’ll be talking to businesses about fall color and how to better serve fall color viewers in Bishop on Monday and Mammoth Lakes on Tuesday, sponsored by the local visitors bureaus.

Just Starting (0-10%) – Los Angeles County

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Going To Town in Los Angeles

Undisclosed Colorful Locale in Los Angeles (11/23/15) LA Leaf Peeper

Undisclosed Colorful Locale in Los Angeles (11/23/15) LA Leaf Peeper

Los Angeles color spotter “LA Leaf Peeper” (actual name withheld to prevent paparazzi from hounding this celebrity), reports that fall color is now “going to town” throughout the City of Angels.

LA Leaf Peeper has been the first anywhere in California to report fall color for the past two years and though this LA “star’s” reports are few, they include insights to the status of fall color in tinseltown.

We’re sure Extra, Inside Edition, the National Enquirer or TMZ will want to know that turned leaves are still hanging from the early-showing liquidambar that LA Leaf Peeper alerted us to in August.  Though now, all LA’s deciduous trees are lit up brighter than the red carpet at the Dolby Theater on Oscar night.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Los Angeles 

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Brown is the New Orange ;)

Huge trees at the LA County Arboretum (see people in lower right) start to turn colorful (10/29/14) Frank McDonough

Huge trees at the LA County Arboretum (see people in lower right) start to turn colorful (10/29/14) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Color spotter Frank McDonough estimates the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is about a third of the way to peak, moving it from Just Starting to Patchy. McDonough said it’s hard to determine how the fall color will develop though, with an Emoji wink, he writes, “If brown is a fall color then it should be spectacular.”  The LA County Arboretum is a great place to see lots of trees at different stages of color change and is often the last reporting area of fall color in California.

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Good Advice, Great Sunsets!

Autumn Sunset, San Bernardino Mountains (10/19/14) Nick Barnhart

Autumn Sunset, San Bernardino Mountains (10/19/14) Nick Barnhart

The Los Angeles Times, took our advice and recommended trips this past weekend to the San Bernardino Mountains.  Turns out, it was good advice, as evidenced by the spectacular shot of Rim of the World (between Lake Gregory and Lake Arrowhead) that Nick Barnhart captured on Sunday.

CLICK HERE for a link to the LA Times’ article.

UPDATE: 10/22/14

Here’s another lovely sunset of the San Bernardino Mountains taken by Nick Barnhart last evening.  I have to ask after seeing Nick’s great photographs (and I’ve photographed sunsets in So. Calif.), “Why go to the beach?”

Running Springs (10/21/14) Nick Barnhart

Running Springs (10/21/14) Nick Barnhart

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LA Lights Up Following Cooler Weather and Rain

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Colder temperatures and light rain have caused an intensification of color across Los Angeles County, as evidenced by these photos provided by Frank McDonough a botanical information consultant at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Gardens.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County – Reports from Southern California indicate perfect fall color conditions with crystal clear skies and bright color.

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough